hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
127,700 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2005 Volkswagen Passat engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #9

Feb 262016


  • 95,900 miles


Car was started at 9:30am at home- last driven night before locally. Car was driven @ 1 mile, parked, engine turned off, doors locked and left in parking lot. At 9:49 the local police called me to alert me that my car was on fire. There is footage of the fire on youtube. Https://www.youtube.com/watch?V=iqbndfdjpag the engine ignited for unknown reason. This car in un-repairable, there is no insurance claim. Receipts for work performed on this vehicle at the time of purchase and recent repair documentation is available. Car purchase bill of sale, receipt for title and registration and cost for insuring this vehicle since time of purchase are all available.

- Teaneck, NJ, USA

problem #8

Sep 162014

Passat 4-cyl

  • 142,000 miles
Vehicle engine made unusual noise and stopped running. Steering and brakes became very difficult. Could not restart engine and heard loud banging from engine when starter was turning engine. Had to have vehicle pushed out of roadway. Inspection of engine revealed that the crankshaft had broken.

- Longview, TX, USA

problem #7

Apr 242013

Passat 4-cyl

  • 187,000 miles
Our Passat is the tdi (diesel) model. We purchased it used and at around 185,000-190,000 (low miles by diesel engine standards), the vehicle completely shut down while being driven. I lost power steering and brakes. Diagnostics revealed that the chain driven oil pump assembly had malfunctioned. The chain broke and got all up in the engine and oil was no longer being pumped into the engine so the engine was destroyed requiring a complete engine repair. About 16,000 miles later, I was driving and the same exact thing happened. Did some research and found out that this is a very common problem with this model vehicle. Volkswagen has issued an internal technical bulletin telling the service departments how to fix the problem. The fix is changing out the chain driven assembly with a gear driven one. They also never made another model with a chain driven assembly after that model year. So they basically admitted that this is a faulty system yet won't issue a recall. Changing out the assembly is $1500 for the part alone and if you're changing out that part, the chances are good it's because it failed and you now have a destroyed engine as well which is a several thousand dollar job even for a used engine. There is no way to tell when it's going to fail and it's not part of any maintenance schedule. Volkswagen has told me that it's not a common enough problem to issue a recall and yet it's a common enough problem to have to issue a technical bulletin about it. I find it abominable that they know this has and is happening with this vehicle and they are not letting people know about it. Even if they refuse to pay for it to be fixed, the public should be aware that they are driving a ticking time bomb. Someone could get killed if the engine shut down on them while traveling at high speeds on a highway. No power steering. No brakes. It's completely unethical.

- Jacksonville, NC, USA

problem #6

Sep 152014

Passat 4-cyl

  • 101,900 miles


Low oil pressure do to sludge build up. Bought the car as a certified pre-owned vehicle. I bought it around 60K and at 100K I am being told that I need a new engine.

- Mansfield, CT, USA

problem #5

Jun 092014


  • 143,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Volkswagen Passat. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The contact steered the vehicle to the side of the road and had it towed to a mechanic. The failure was diagnosed as engine oil sludge. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 143,000.

- Merrillville, IN, USA

problem #4

Dec 262012

Passat 4-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
Was driving home and the check engine light, stop driving light, low oil pressure light and a buzzer went off. Had the vehicle towed to a mechanic and have found that there is no oil pressure. The vehicle with this many miles should never have a problem with no oil pressure. The mechanic tells us that it might be "sludge" or the oil pump is shot. Either of which should never happen on any vehicle especially since it has only 89000 miles. This problem is typical with this motor and was recalled up to the model years 2004. The 1.8 L turbo motor is and always has been a terrible motor for this and just because they have not received a lot of complaints on this particular year does not mean that there is no problem. One only has to search on line to see that their is and has been an ongoing problem. VW of America has acknowledged the recall and their culpability up to 2004, in an email to me, but because of our newer VIN has denied coverage.

- Chatham, MI, USA

problem #3

Oct 242013

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 117,500 miles


Engine oil pump drive failure (tdi engine), causing loss of engine operation including loss of power steering and loss of power brakes.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #2

Mar 232013

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • 143,000 miles
On 3/23/13, when turning left in traffic, the "sealed for life" 5-spd auto transmission made an incredibly hard shift, began slipping badly, and quickly lost 3 fwd speeds, "limping" in for service. Normally, a trans failure at 143K would not prompt an NHTSA complaint. It is not the car, but rather vwoa and its dealer network, that are the problem. My local dealer refused to check auto trans fluid level, and would only grudgingly do a fluid change if I wanted, for an extortionate $700, steadfastly maintaining that neither was necessary. Vwoa today 4/5/13, ironically, criticized me for not following the owner's manual recommendation of checking fluid every 40K miles. Local dealer wanted over $4400 + misc fees & tax to replace the trans. At the same time, they indicated my new tires with 500 miles on them were in a marginal tread wear condition. Ditto the recently renewed (at the same dealer!) rear brakes. Btw, the transmission manufacturer, zf, recommends communicating to customers the benefits of fluid changes at 50K mile intervals. VW won't listen to either customer or trans mfr. Trans was rebuilt at qualified independent shop. There was also an earlier recall (thanks, NHTSA!) of ceramic glow plugs that would fall into cylinders and cause catastrophic damage. Fortunately, I had the repair done independently, as this condition was known for at least 2 yrs before VW's official response. VW did compensate me for this, but I wonder how many $9K engines were destroyed while VW contemplated its collective navel. Btw, after the official VW fix (done at dealer), the car starts in winter like a 1980 rabbit diesel. I fitted a zerostart as corrective measure. VW also refuses to discuss the balance shaft chain drive issue with me. A ticking time bomb at 143K. They know it. I know it. NHTSA, please take vwoa to task! as for me, I'm now shopping competitors.

- Pewaukee, WI, USA

problem #1

Jan 142013


  • 130,000 miles
The interior heater does not work correctly. We took the vehicle to a VW mechanic oasis auto center in redding, ca. He said he cleared the coil but that a valve may also be part of the problem. This occurred in November 2011. Since we live in N. California it has not been a big issue since it is warm most of the year. I did however see this is a recall item. Please advise me if we can still get this repaired under the recall.

- Redding, CA, USA

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